It's official. Prunes are in, dried plums are out.
The commodity group that now calls itself the California Prune Board unveiled its new name and rebranding campaign during last week's World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress’ conference in Boca Raton, Fla., firmly re-embracing the word "prune" while jettisoning the Dried Plum Board moniker that it had been using since 2000.
The effort includes a new logo, which highlights the words “for prunes."
"The world comes to California for prunes, and we take that seriously,” says Donn Zea, the board's executive director. “California is the most reliable and consistent source in the industry for quality, size, and taste.
“It moves prunes away from an occasional food choice to a daily pleasure," he adds. "This is ideal since California prunes are good for your gut, heart and bones."
Over the last few months, Zea has been giving an early heads-up to growers, including about 75 who attended a recent University of California Cooperative Extension-sponsored workshop in Red Bluff in February.
“We’re expanding our portfolio” of health and nutrition research, including more recent discoveries of the importance of maintaining the gut health that prunes were so well-known for, he explained to the growers.
Findings 'give us cachet'
New findings “continue to give us cachet in the scientific community,” said Zea, who has been the CDPB’s chief since 2011.
The organization was known as the prune board until the summer of 2000, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted it permission to use “dried plums” as an alternative name.
The board sought the switch after research at the time showed that the name “dried plum” offered a more positive connotation and would boost sales of the fruit, according to the organization.
“At the time, their intentions and their focus had merit,” Zea told Western Farm Press earlier this year. “What we didn’t understand at the time was the greater importance the gut has from a whole-body health standpoint.”
He explains that consumers care more than ever about their food and the time is right to promote California prunes in a fresh way.
“Gut health has gained more interest and relevance, and clinical trials suggest that eating five or six prunes a day may support healthy bones,” he says. “In addition to the nutritional benefits, market research has shown that the only thing holding people back from eating more prunes isn’t negative perceptions, but rather the simple need for more top-of-mind awareness.”